Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 112-115

Psa 112.1-10 takes up the theme of Psa 111.10 about wisdom and it is also an acrostic psalm with the initial letters of each verse following the Hebrew alphabet from Aleph to Tav. This teaches that the righteous man who fears the Lord will follow the Totah from Aleph (the beginning) to Tav (the end). it will also have identical or similar verses as Psa 111. These two psalms are a picture ofd the sun and the moon. Psa 111 declares the glory of Yehovah and Psa 112 alludes to reflecting God’s glory in the person who believes in Yeshua and follows the Torah (Rev 12.17). There is no heading or author names so we will not speculate.

Psa 112.1-9 begins, “Praise the Lord (Hallelu Yah, with Yah being a shortened form of Yehovah)! How blessed (enabled to succeed) is the man who fears Yehovah (in reverence of), who greatly delights (desires) in his commandments (v 1). His descendants (because he teaches them God’s ways) will be mighty (have authority) on earth; the generation (his contemporaries) of the upright will be blessed (enabled to succeed-v 2). Wealth and riches (especially) are in his house (family) and his righteousness endures (not diminished) forever (v 3). Light (understanding arises in the darkness (lack of understanding, ignorant) for the upright (in this world), he is gracious (to those who pray) and compassionate (to the poor and ignorant) and righteous (gives to each as they deserve-v 4). It is well with the man who is gracious and lends (gives help in many ways); he will maintain (conduct) his cause (his affairs in civil and domestic matters) in judgment (justice-v 5). He will never be shaken (out of God’s love, affection, grace); the righteous (by emunah) will be remembered (with nothing to fear) forever (v 6). He will not fear evil tidings (has stability, does not frighten him-Isa 33.6); his heart is steadfast (does not waver) trusting (has confidence) in Yehovah (v 7). His heart is upheld, he will not fear, until he looks (sees judgment) on his tormentors (v 8). He has given freely to the poor (destitute); his righteousness (charity-Matt 5.6) endures forever; his horn (power) will be exalted in honor (v 9).”

Psa 112.10 tells us about the anger of the wicked when he sees the righteous man blessed, “The wicked (rasha) will see it (the success of the tzadik or righteous) and be angered; he will gnash his teeth and melt away (grow faint); the desire of the wicked (which is to see the downfall of the righteous) will perish (come to nothing-v 10).

Psa 113-1-9 is the beginning of what is called “The Hallel (praise).” Psa 113-118 is read at Passover, Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, Chanukah and Shavuot. Portions of it are read on Rosh Chodesh (new moon) called the “Half Hallel” (Psa 115.1-11 and Psa 116.1-11 are not included). These psalms are sometimes called the Egyptian Hallel, with Psa 136 called the Great Hallel (Hallel ha Gadol). The Hallel is very eschatological and it has five themes: the coming out of Egypt in the First/Egyptian Redemption; the parting of the Red Sea (Yam Suf); the giving of the Torah; the resurrection and the destiny of the Messiah. As we read and study Psa 113 to 118 keep in mind that there psalms allude to Yeshua and were sung before and during his crucifixion. The Hallel was sung as the Passover lambs were being slain in the Temple, so Yeshua was the embodiment of the Passover lamb and the people around the cross could hear them being sung as he was on the cross. Again, there is no heading or author named.

Psa 113.1-4 calls on God’s servants to praise him eternally, “Praise the Lord (Hallelu Yah, and the numerical value of “Hallelu” is 71 and this alludes to Jacob and his family who descended in to Egypt in Exo 1.5)! Praise the name of Yehovah (v 1). Blessed be the name of Yehovah (it’s not just any God we worship, he has a name), from this time forth and forever (v 2). From the rising of the sun (east) to its setting (west-this means “everywhere”- v 3). Yehovah is high above all the nations (King of Kings); his glory (kivod) is above the heavens (beyond comprehension in this world-v 4).”

Psa 113.5-9 tells us there is no other God but Yehovah, “Who is like (“micah” Yehovah our God (Eloheynu) who is enthroned (throne of power) on high (v 5), who humbles himself to behold (he involves himself in our lives) in the heaven and in the earth (v 6). He raises the poor from the dust (those that are lowly and not seen by others as having value) and lifts the needy from the ash heap (trash-v 7), to make them sit with princes (the nobles), the princes of his people (like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob as in Matt 8.11-v 8). He makes the barren woman (Israel in Isa 54.1 and Gal 4.27; the Virtuous Woman) abide in the house (gives her a home) as a joyful mother of children (a blessing). Praise the Lord (Hallelu Yah)!”

Psa 114.1-8 is the second psalm of the Hallel and it celebrates the great care that God exhibited over Israel in the Exodus, using the creation itself to help his people. Psa 114.1-2 talks about God’s redemption from Egypt and how Israel became his sanctuary. It begins, “When Israel went forth from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people with a strange language (v 1), Judah (singled out because they were the royal tribe) became his sanctuary; Israel his dominion (after the Red Sea, they now were under Yehovah’s sovereignty-v 2).”

Psa 114.3-8 shows God’s sovereignty over nature and why there is panic, “The sea looked and fled (responded to God’s command in reverence); the Jordan turned back (also responding to the Lord’s command-v 3). The mountains skipped like rams (shook, moved), the hills (around Sinai that were smaller) like lambs (v 4). What ails you, O sea, that you flee (God has dominion over the sea, the domain of Leviathan and Ha Satan-Isa 27.1; Job 26.12-13. The sea is also seen as unconverted humanity-Isa 57.20)? O Jordan, that you turn back (two events that marked the beginning and the end of their journey in the wilderness-v 5)? O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like rams (in panic-v 6)? Tremble, O earth, before Yehovah (who is the reason why nature is agitated and in panic), before the God of Jacob (v 7), who turned the rock into a pool of water (Exo 17.6-v 8).”

Psa 115.1-18 is the third part of the Hallel. Psa 115.1-8 tells us that Yehovah is above all idols, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us (no glory is due any man, not even the best of mankind), but to thy name give glory because of thy mercy (free and undeserved), because of thy truth (the promises in the Torah-v 1). Why should the nations say (in mocking Israel),’Where now is their God (that you have been boasting about-v 2)? But our God is in the heavens (invisible but he still rules the earth), he does whatever he pleases (according to his own course-v 3). Their idols are silver and gold, the work of man’s hands (man’s image-v 4). They have mouths, but they cannot speak (the truth); they have eyes, but they cannot see (the truth-v 5); they have ears, but they cannot hear (the truth); they have noses, but they cannot smell (no life in them-v 6); they have hands, but they cannot feel (no power); they have feet, but cannot walk (in God’s ways); they cannot make a sound with their throat (to speak truth, they are lifeless-v 7). Those who make them become like them (the idol is actually in the image of the person who make them. They become like the idol because they are mute, deaf, blind, can’t smell or breathe, feel and are lifeless to the Torah. The idols represent spiritual forces and symbols. The pagan does not even want his idol to to have senses because then it might start telling him what to do. The idolater wants to have power over it, and gets rid of it if he doesn’t like it), everyone who trusts in them (to make an image of God brings him to the level of a pagan deity, always false-v 8).”

Psa 115.9-15 tells us to trust Yehovah ad we can be assured that he will help us, “O Israel, trust in the Lord (in contrast to those who trust in idols); he is their help (“ezram”) and their shield (magen-Psa 84.9, 119.114; Prov 2.7, 15.6, 30.5; Song 8.2-v 9). O house of Aaron (the priests), trust in Yehovah (they were to be the examples); he is their help and their shield (v 10). You who fear (serve out of reverence and awe) Yehovah, trust in Yehovah (the logical next step); he is their help and their shield (v 11). Yehovah has been mindful of us (the Targum says, “The word of the Lord remembered us for good”); he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel (the household he has made a covenant with); he will bless the house of Aaron (v 12). He will bless those who fear (have a reverence for) Yehovah, the small (lowly) together with the great (prominent-v 13). May Yehovah give you increase (abundance as opposed to a curse, which is being empowered to fail), you and your children (v 14). May you be blessed of Yehovah (he controls the blessing because he is) the maker of heaven and earth.”

Psa 115.16-18 recognizes God’s authority and dominion, and he is worthy of praise, “The heavens are the heavens of Yehovah, but the earth he has given to the sons of men (literally “sons of Adam” to control-v 16). The dead do not praise Yehovah (among the living), nor do any who go down into silence (the grave-v 17). But as for us (who praised Yehovah in this world), we will bless Yehovah from this time forth (on earth) and forever (or “olam” alluding to the Olam Haba, the World to Come). Hallalu Yah (v 18)!”

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

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